single handed racing

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by rapscallion, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. rapscallion
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: Wisconsin

    rapscallion Senior Member

    I was hoping to get some input on a single handed sport boat concept. I have just sailed on a mini for the first time and was IMPRESSED with the boat. And I have recently started racing my boat single handed (laser 28)

    I was wondering if there were any ideas on what a single handed sport boat would look like if you were not restricted by the mini 650 design rules. I was hoping to race the boat in buoy races and in distance races on the great lakes.

    Instead of water ballast (which would be difficult to work in a buoy race) I would just add draft to the keel... an unusually deep draft would keep the ballast weight down to a level found in a sport boat designed to be run with a crew. I was thinking about a boat in the 7 to 8 meter range.

    furling jib, huge main, and furling screacher on an articulating sprit would provide a sailplan that could be handled from the cockpit..

    What kind of hullshape would work best for distance and buoy races? A hull like the mini, or a narrower hull like a hobie 33?
  2. Sail IC
    Joined: May 2009
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    Sail IC New Member

    Interesting topic and I currently race a sportsboat single handed myslef, an RS K6.

    I would think minimalist. Start with an easily driven hull and run "circle of goodenss".... Reduce sailarea -> lower loads -> reduce weight ..... and go around again.

    Current sportsboat trend is to put as much sail as possible on a small boat which gives stunning downwind performance but quite slow upwind. I don't think this is the way to go for a single handed boat.

    I'm an x-dinghy racer and I veiw the only purpose of ballast on a sportsboat is to make it self righting (low weight). The boat should be sailed dead flat and RM should only come from bodyweight. This means that you need to get far out from the centerline with the help of wings, trapeze, or both.

    In terms of layout, must have is a self tacking jib and gennaker chute. You neeed to able to do everything with one hand except hoisting and taking down the gennaker which can be don by steering with the tiller between legs. simple design where everything works smoothly as its difficult to fix things with just one hand (the other on the tiller).

    My RS K6 that I race single handed has following measurements:
    Length: 5.80 meter (about 18 feet)
    Beam: 1.90 meter (about 6ยด3")
    Disp: 280Kg (about 620lb)
    Ballast: 100Kg (about 220 Kg)
    Main + Jib: 19.5 sqm (about 210 sqfeet)
    Gennaker: 29 sqm (about 310 sqfeet)

    I sail/race it single handed with a trapeze added. The boat has a very narrow waterline and small wetted area. Performance is very good on all points of sail in all wind strenghts bar beating in strong wind. Downwind it has a total SA over 500 sqfeet with a total weigh including crew of 375kg (850 pounds) which gives exceptional SA/weight. Around the race course its about 10% faster to a J80 or standard RS K6 and equal to a X-35.

    What would I change if going clean sheet.

    The RS K6 has a narrow fairly round hull cross section. I would rather go like a stretched out 49er to 18-20 feet and narrower waterline (as narrow as I dare). I would reduce SA to about 14-15sqm (150 sqfeet) and with a more modern planform (square top). I would keep gennaker size that now would be (alsmost) masthead. Reduce ballast to 60Kg (130 pound), enought to make it just self righting, and possibly on a shallower keel than current. This would give away some lightwind upswind performance but make it faster in anything else.

    I'm actually thinking of doing above changes with the exeption of a different hull.

  3. rapscallion
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    rapscallion Senior Member

    I really like your ideas in terms of minimalist design. I want to apply that approach to a small off shore single handed racer. Right now the mini is the closest thing on the market, but it is not a good design for beer can races... The rs k6 looks like a great place to start. But I can't use a trapeze.

    funny you mention a j80... there is one in our club, and he is tough to beat.
  4. K4s
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    K4s Junior Member

    Just about any sporty type boat can be singlehanded once you have worked out where to run the important controls.
    You need to be able to reef quickly without getting to far from the helm.
    Headsail sheeting needs to be able to be done from the windward side of the boat and again not far from the helm.
    A simple self steering,or at least course holding system is a good thing.I used a bungy cord that I could wrap around the end of the tiller when working the sails.
    If at all possible it is nice to not have to leave the cockpit to perform any task.
    Changing headsails was my least favourite job.A roller furler would have been nice.

    Attached Files:

  5. K4s
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    Location: New Zealand

    K4s Junior Member

    Steering system.Admittedly on a very calm day,but this system worked right up into double reef and #3 headsail.Allowing me to leave the helm and retrieve the genny(which was launched and retrieved from the cockpit)or go get lunch from below:)

    Attached Files:

  6. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready


    Are multies out ,Raps?
  7. ned
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    Location: New Zealand

    ned Junior Member

    id look at a wide boat that is power full. have you looked at a retreval chute because ive been looking at building a 2 handed coastal racer about 7.5m long with a frac gen and a mast head gen that can be retreved from the helm. this boat would be for a two handed round the top island of nz race so you would be sailing by yourself a lot of the time here is some specs
    loa 7.499m
    beam 3.1m so its trailerable
    mast 11m
    keel 2.1m
    bulb 200kg
    water ballast 300lt each side
    main 31sm
    reefable jib15sm
    mh gennaker 120sm
    frac gennaker 80sm
    code o 40sm
    a5 50sm
    st jib 6 sm
    try sail 8sm
    prod 3.75m
  8. pbb
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: France

    pbb New Member

    Hi rapscallion,

    I have just found this thread, and although it is a couple of months old, I am posting my thoughts in the hope that they might be of interest to you.

    I have been wanting to build a 4 - 6 metre sportboat for some time and just recently I came across the i550 ( which is stylish and also promises a good performance.

    This was potentially a suitable boat, except that, reading questions in the forum, it was clear the boat was designed for at least two crew.

    I then came across the unfortunately-named Bongo (, which is a similar design to the i550, but at only 4.6 metres, has been designed to be sailed single-handed in a range of wind speeds.

    However this boat is production only and cost around 15,000 USD. Second-hand models are upwards of 7,000 USD and there won't be many in Europe where I am.

    The only other single-handed sportboats I have found are the International Solo Swift ( and the Quetzal ( Both are out-and-out racing boats, requiring a trapeze to keep the boat upright in a range of wind speeds.

    I much prefer the approach of Paul Cronin, the designer of the Bongo:

    He has produced a fast boat, but one that doesn't require hiking out.
    He believes he has taken capsizing out of the picture by giving the boat a very long foil with 45Kg of lead on the end.
    The boat includes all the options to tune it on-the-fly, with all controls led to a central control console.

    I am considering having a set of plans drawn up to allow a boat, inspired by both the Bongo and the i550 (perhaps the i460), to be home constructed.

    Have you found what you where looking for, or could this approach be of interest?

  9. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Look at any of the round the world single handed race sailboats for a good idea of larger boats.
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